Breaking Down the Different Styles of Breakdancing

Breaking Down the Different Styles of Breakdancing

Looking to dive into the world of breakdancing? This article will provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of the various styles of breakdancing. From power moves to footwork, we’ll explore the unique characteristics and techniques that define each style. Whether you’re a beginner seeking to learn the basics or an experienced dancer looking to expand your repertoire, this article will serve as your ultimate guide to the different styles of breakdancing. Get ready to unleash your creativity and master the art of breakdancing like never before!

History of Breakdancing

Origins of Breakdancing

Breakdancing, also known as b-boying or breaking, originated in the Bronx, New York City, during the 1970s. It emerged as a cultural expression within the hip-hop movement, primarily among African American and Latinx communities. The exact origins of breakdancing are often debated, but it is believed to have evolved from a combination of various dance styles and influences.

One of the key influences on breakdancing was the street dance culture that emerged in the Bronx. Dance crews would gather in public spaces and engage in dance battles, showcasing their skills and creativity. These battles became a way for individuals to express themselves and gain recognition within their communities.

Another significant influence on breakdancing was the martial arts films that gained popularity during that time. The fluid movements, acrobatics, and power displayed by martial artists inspired breakdancers to incorporate similar techniques into their routines. This fusion of street dance and martial arts created a unique style that would later become synonymous with breakdancing.

Evolution of Breakdancing

Over the years, breakdancing has undergone significant evolution and has expanded its influence globally. In the 1980s, breakdancing gained mainstream recognition through media exposure, with movies like "Breakin’" and "Beat Street" showcasing the art form to a wider audience.

As breakdancing spread beyond its Bronx origins, different regional styles began to emerge. Each style had its own unique characteristics and was influenced by the local culture and music scene. Some notable regional styles include the power moves of the West Coast, the footwork-centric style of Chicago, and the intricate freezes of the East Coast.

In the 1990s, breakdancing continued to evolve with the introduction of new moves and techniques. Dancers began incorporating more gymnastics and acrobatics into their routines, pushing the boundaries of what was possible. This evolution led to the development of power moves like windmills, flares, and headspins, which became iconic elements of breakdancing.

In recent years, breakdancing has gained even more recognition and legitimacy as an art form. It has become a competitive sport, with international competitions like the Red Bull BC One and the World B-Boy Series showcasing the world’s best breakdancers. Breakdancing has also been included as an official sport in events like the Youth Olympic Games.

In conclusion, breakdancing has a rich history and has evolved from its humble origins in the Bronx to become a global phenomenon. Its origins in street dance culture and martial arts films, combined with its continuous evolution and regional variations, have contributed to its unique and dynamic style.

Foundation Moves

Breakdancing, also known as b-boying or breaking, is a dynamic and captivating form of street dance that originated in the Bronx, New York City, during the early 1970s. It is characterized by its acrobatic and improvisational movements, which are often performed to the rhythm of hip-hop music. To truly master breakdancing, one must first understand and practice the essential foundation moves. These moves form the building blocks upon which all other breakdancing styles are developed. Let’s explore three fundamental foundation moves: Toprock, Footwork, and Freezes.


Toprock is the initial step in a breakdancing routine and serves as an introduction to the dance. It involves standing upright and performing a series of rhythmic steps, typically executed while facing the audience. Toprock is essential for establishing the dancer’s style and setting the tone for the rest of the performance. It showcases the dancer’s creativity, musicality, and ability to transition smoothly between movements. Some popular toprock styles include the Indian Step, Kick Step, and Shuffle.


Footwork is a fundamental element of breakdancing that focuses on intricate and complex movements performed primarily with the dancer’s feet and legs. It requires agility, coordination, and quick reflexes. Footwork involves a combination of steps, spins, twists, slides, and floor transitions. Dancers utilize the entire dance floor, showcasing their creativity and individual style through intricate footwork patterns. Some common footwork styles include 6-step, 3-step, and CCs (Continuous Circular Combinations).


Freezes are dramatic poses or static positions held by breakdancers during a routine. These poses emphasize strength, balance, and control. Freezes are often used to punctuate a particular movement or to create moments of stillness amidst the dynamic nature of breakdancing. There are various types of freezes, including the Baby Freeze, Airchair, and Handstand Freeze. Each freeze requires precise body positioning and muscular control, showcasing the dancer’s ability to hold challenging positions with ease and stability.

In conclusion, foundation moves play a crucial role in breakdancing, providing the basis upon which breakdancers build their unique styles and movements. Toprock introduces the dance, footwork showcases intricate leg movements, and freezes add impactful moments of stillness. By mastering these foundation moves, breakdancers can develop their skills and creativity, paving the way for more advanced and captivating performances.

Power Moves

Power moves are an exciting aspect of breakdancing that showcase the dancer’s strength, agility, and control. These moves require a great deal of physical power and coordination, making them a true spectacle to watch. In this section, we will explore three popular power moves: windmills, flares, and airflares.


Windmills are one of the most iconic power moves in breakdancing. This move involves spinning on your back while keeping your legs elevated in the air, creating a continuous circular motion. To perform a windmill, breakdancers use the momentum generated by swinging their legs and twisting their upper body. This move requires a strong core and upper body strength, as well as precise timing and control.


Flares are another impressive power move that demands incredible strength and agility. This move involves rotating your body in a horizontal circle while supporting yourself with only your hands. To execute a flare, breakdancers kick their legs up and over their body in a continuous motion, propelling themselves forward. This move requires a combination of upper body strength, flexibility, and coordination to maintain momentum and control throughout the rotation.


Airflares take power moves to the next level, adding a dynamic and acrobatic element to breakdancing. This move involves performing multiple consecutive rotations in the air, with only one hand touching the ground at a time. Airflares require a tremendous amount of strength, balance, and body control. Breakdancers use explosive power from their legs and core to propel themselves off the ground and maintain momentum throughout the sequence of rotations.

Power moves are a challenging yet exhilarating aspect of breakdancing. They showcase the incredible athleticism and skill of breakdancers, as they defy gravity with their impressive displays of strength and control. Whether it’s the mesmerizing windmills, gravity-defying flares, or mind-blowing airflares, power moves never fail to leave the audience in awe.

Style and Technique

When it comes to breakdancing, one of the most crucial aspects is the style and technique employed by the dancers. Breakdancing is not just about executing moves, but also about expressing oneself through unique styles. Each breakdancer brings their own flavor and creativity to their performances, making it a visually captivating art form.

Breaking Styles

Breakdancing encompasses various styles that have evolved over the years. These styles represent different approaches to movement, rhythm, and expression within the dance. Some of the prominent breaking styles include:

  1. Toprock: This style primarily focuses on footwork done while standing up. Dancers showcase their creativity through rhythmic steps, kicks, and spins, setting the foundation for their performance.

  2. Downrock: Also known as floorwork, downrock involves intricate movements performed on the floor. Dancers use their hands, elbows, and knees to create engaging sequences, showcasing their strength and agility.

  3. Power Moves: Power moves are dynamic and acrobatic movements that require immense strength and skill. These moves often involve spins, flips, and rotations, adding an element of excitement and awe to the performance.

  4. Freezes: Freezes are static positions held by breakdancers, often at the climax of their routines. These gravity-defying poses require balance, control, and precise body positioning, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.


In breakdancing, musicality plays a vital role in enhancing the overall performance. Breakdancers must have a deep understanding of rhythm, beats, and musical patterns to synchronize their movements with the music. Musicality allows dancers to express themselves more effectively, creating a harmonious connection between their body and the music.

By interpreting the music and incorporating its elements into their routines, breakdancers can add layers of complexity and emotion to their performances. They can accentuate the rhythm with sharp movements, flow seamlessly with melodic sections, or create contrast by emphasizing pauses and breaks in the music.

Flow and Transitions

Flow and transitions are essential aspects of breakdancing that contribute to the overall aesthetics of a performance. Flow refers to the smoothness and continuity of movements, allowing breakdancers to maintain a seamless sequence of steps and transitions between different styles.

Transitions, on the other hand, are the bridges that connect various moves and styles together. Skillfully executed transitions enhance the fluidity of the performance, creating a cohesive and visually appealing routine. Breakdancers often utilize footwork, spins, freezes, and other techniques to transition seamlessly from one move to another, showcasing their versatility and control.

Mastering flow and transitions requires practice, body awareness, and a deep understanding of the dance’s dynamics. When done flawlessly, they elevate the performance, turning it into a captivating display of skill and artistry.

In conclusion, breakdancing is a multifaceted dance form that incorporates a variety of styles, techniques, musicality, flow, and transitions. The combination of these elements allows breakdancers to express themselves uniquely and captivate audiences with their performances. Whether it’s the mesmerizing footwork of toprock, the intricate floorwork of downrock, the explosive power moves, or the gravity-defying freezes, breakdancing is an art form that continues to evolve and inspire.

Competitive Breakdancing

Competitive breakdancing, also known as B-boying or B-girling, has gained immense popularity worldwide as a dynamic and exhilarating form of street dance. This article will delve into the various aspects of competitive breakdancing, including battles and judging criteria, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of this electrifying dance style.


Battles are the heart and soul of competitive breakdancing. They serve as the platform where dancers showcase their skills, creativity, and athleticism while engaging in friendly yet intense dance-offs. These battles are not about physical altercations but rather about artistic expression and outshining opponents through jaw-dropping moves.

In a typical breakdance battle, two dancers or crews face off against each other on a designated dance floor, often referred to as a "cypher" or "circle." Each dancer or crew takes turns performing their routines, aiming to impress the judges, intimidate their opponents, and captivate the audience. The battles can be one-on-one (referred to as "1v1") or crew battles, where multiple dancers from each crew participate.

Battles are not only about individual skill but also about establishing a connection with the music and the audience. Dancers must demonstrate their ability to interpret the beats and rhythms, syncing their movements with the music to create a visually captivating performance. The competitive atmosphere of battles pushes dancers to push their limits, constantly innovating and evolving their dance style.

Judging Criteria

Judging competitive breakdancing requires a deep understanding of the dance form’s technical aspects, artistry, and overall performance. Here are some key criteria commonly used by judges in breakdance competitions:

  1. Execution: This criterion focuses on how well dancers perform their moves. It includes factors such as precision, control, and cleanliness of each movement. Dancers must exhibit mastery over their techniques, executing them flawlessly and with confidence.

  2. Difficulty: Breakdancing is renowned for its gravity-defying moves and acrobatic feats. Judges assess the complexity and level of difficulty of the moves performed. Dancers who incorporate intricate footwork, power moves, and challenging freezes into their routines are often rewarded.

  3. Creativity: Originality and creativity play a vital role in breakdancing battles. Dancers are encouraged to bring their unique style and innovative moves to the stage. Judges look for dancers who push the boundaries, invent new steps, and demonstrate their artistic flair.

  4. Musicality: Breakdancing is deeply intertwined with music. Judges evaluate how well dancers synchronize their movements with the rhythm, beats, and melodies of the music. Dancers who display a keen sense of musicality, interpreting the music through their choreography, are highly regarded.

  5. Performance: In addition to technical skills, judges assess the overall performance and showmanship of the dancers. This includes factors such as stage presence, energy, charisma, and the ability to engage the audience. Dancers who can captivate the crowd and leave a lasting impression often receive higher scores.

It is important to note that judging criteria may vary slightly between different competitions and events. However, these fundamental elements provide a framework for evaluating the excellence and artistry displayed in competitive breakdancing battles.

In conclusion, competitive breakdancing is a thrilling realm where dancers engage in battles, mesmerizing audiences with their incredible skills and creativity. By understanding the significance of battles and the criteria used by judges, you can better appreciate the intricacies of this extraordinary dance form.

Influential Breakdancers

Rock Steady Crew

Rock Steady Crew is one of the most influential breakdancing groups in the history of the dance style. Founded in the Bronx, New York City in 1977, the crew quickly gained recognition for their unique style and impressive skills. They played a crucial role in popularizing breakdancing worldwide and were instrumental in shaping the dance culture of the 1980s.

The Rock Steady Crew consisted of talented individuals who brought their own distinctive moves and energy to the group. They were known for their dynamic footwork, acrobatic spins, and impressive freezes. Their performances were characterized by a combination of power, precision, and creativity, making them a force to be reckoned with in the breakdancing scene.

The Lockers

The Lockers, formed in 1971, were pioneers of a dance style called "locking" which became an integral part of breakdancing. This group, hailing from Los Angeles, California, played a significant role in the evolution of breakdancing by introducing unique moves and techniques that are still celebrated today.

The Lockers were known for their distinctive dance style, characterized by precise and exaggerated body movements, intricate hand gestures, and signature "locks" – freeze-like poses held by the dancers. Their performances were full of energy, creativity, and humor, making them popular among audiences worldwide.

The Floorlords

The Floorlords, founded in 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts, are considered one of the most influential breakdancing crews of their time. They were known for their exceptional footwork, intricate floor maneuvers, and innovative use of music in their performances.

The Floorlords were known for pushing the boundaries of breakdancing with their intricate footwork patterns and impressive combinations. They were also recognized for their unique style of incorporating various dance elements, such as popping and waving, into their routines. Their dedication to the art form and commitment to pushing the limits of breakdancing made them an influential force within the breakdancing community.

These three influential breakdancing groups, Rock Steady Crew, The Lockers, and The Floorlords, have left an indelible mark on the breakdancing world. Their creativity, skills, and passion have not only inspired generations of breakdancers but have also played a crucial role in shaping the diverse styles and techniques seen in breakdancing today.

In conclusion, breakdancing is a vibrant and diverse art form that encompasses a range of styles. From the energetic power moves to the intricate footwork and freezes, each style brings its own unique flavor to the dance floor. Whether it’s the acrobatic athleticism of the b-boy style or the fluidity and rhythm of the b-girl style, breakdancing continues to captivate and inspire people all over the world. As the dance evolves and new styles emerge, breakdancing remains a testament to creativity, passion, and self-expression. So next time you witness a breakdancing battle or find yourself on the dance floor, take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of styles that make up this dynamic and exhilarating art form.